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Company Pays Out $45K After Forcing Pregnant Woman Off the Job

February 17, 2016 Pregnancy Discrimination

Staffer told she had to prove she was capable of working

It’s unfortunate that, in 2016, becoming pregnant can still be enough to land some women in the unemployment line.

However, it happens all the time.

Last year we brought you a story of a woman who was forced off the job after her boss heard a rumor that she was pregnant.

After many months of legal wrangling, it seems that the company recently decided to cut its losses and settle the suit. Shipley Do-Nuts will pay Brooke Foley $45,000, rather than have to face going to court to defend its decision to terminate a pregnant woman.

Because Foley fought back, you can bet that her former employer will think twice before it fires another pregnant staffer.

On the flip side, many women don’t fight back. What happens then? The consequences may have a wider impact than she realizes. That is, an employer who gets away with a potentially unlawful act once is likely to try it again.

Your Rights Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

That’s why it’s important for women to be aware of their rights under the law.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) applies to companies with 15 or more employees. It is supposed to protect women from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. That includes terms and conditions related to:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotions
  • Raises
  • Layoffs
  • Training
  • Fringe benefits
  • Job assignments

In addition, it’s generally illegal for companies to require pregnant women, or those suspected of being pregnant, to provide medical documentation that wouldn’t be required for similarly situated non-pregnant employees.

That’s where Foley’s employer tripped up. She was told that she had to bring in a note stating that it was safe for her to work. She refused and was terminated.

In addition, companies must treat pregnant women the same way they would other employees in terms of medical leave and temporary disability. For example, if employees would normally be required to submit doctor’s notes before taking leave, then pregnant women must do the same.

However, pregnant employees may not be forced to take leave. The PDA states that they should be allowed to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. Similarly, an employer may not require a staffer to take a minimum amount of time off after giving birth.

Contact the Murphy Law Group Now for a Free Consultation

Issues surrounding employment and pregnancy are wide-ranging. In addition to the PDA, women may also be impacted by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Obviously, things can become complicated quickly. That’s why, if you feel that you’ve been subjected to discrimination due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.

Email us at, or call (267) 273-1054 for a free consultation.